Transcript: Brent Carver | Nov 30, 1997

(Rhythmic string and wind music plays)

In animation, a word in pink slides by against a gray background as hands paint strokes using paintbrushes, play a piano, and touch as in a ballet performance.

The title of the show reads “Dialogue.”

The title of the episode pops up against an image of Richard Ouzounian and a guest in a filming studio that resembles a castle dungeon: “Brent Carver. Actor.”

Then, Richard appears facing the screen. He's in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short side-parted blond hair. He's wearing rounded glasses, a black suit, gray shirt, and gray patterned tie.

He says WELCOME TO
DIALOGUE.
I'M RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE.
I'VE KNOWN OUR NEXT GUEST
FOR 27 YEARS, AND I'VE HAD
THE PRIVILEGE TO WORK WITH
HIM ON MANY OCCASIONS.
BUT, YOU KNOW, JUST LIKE THE
AVERAGE AUDIENCE MEMBER,
I AM FREQUENTLY THRILLED AND
MYSTIFIED BY HOW HE DOES
THE THINGS HE DOES.
THIS
DIALOGUE
IS
WITH BRENT CARVER.

Brent is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with short wavy blond hair. He’s wearing a dark blue shirt and gray trousers.

Richard continues SO BRENT, HERE WE
ARE 27 YEARS AGO.
I'M IN VANCOUVER AT UBC, WE'RE
IN THE THEATRE DEPARTMENT,
AND I SEE A CAST LIST, AND
BOTH OF OUR NAMES ARE ON IT.
AND I SAY, WHO IS
THIS BRENT CARVER.
AND ONE OF THE OTHER STUDENTS
SAID, OH, HE'S THIS KID
FROM CRANBROOK WHO SINGS.
IS THAT AN ACCURATE
DESCRIPTION OF YOU?

Brent says QUITE ACCURATE, ACTUALLY.
I SANG FOREVER.
I REMEMBER VERY SPECIFICALLY,
WHEN I WAS IN GRADE TWO,
IN THE HALLWAYS OF THESE OLD
SCHOOLS, YOU USED TO HANG YOUR
COATS ALONG THE HALLWAY
AND PUT YOUR BOOTS THERE.
AND I WAS PUTTING MY BOOTS ON
AT LUNCH HOUR, AND SINGING,
AS I WAS WANT TO
CONSTANTLY DO.
MY UNCLE SAID TO ME, YOU KNOW,
WHEN YOU WERE A KID, YOU
DIDN'T EVEN TALK, AND YOU KNEW
THE TUNES FROM YOUR RADIO.
IN MY CRIB, I
USED TO SING IT.
SO EVENTUALLY, I JUST
SANG ALL THE TIME.
EVERY CHURCH CHOIR,
EVERY SCHOOL CHOIR, ANY
DENOMINATION, WORKING WITH,
YOU KNOW, PIANO TEACHERS,
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

Richard says THAT'S THE SINGING PART.
THE CRANBROOK PART,
FOR PEOPLE IN ONTARIO,
WHAT WAS CRANBROOK
B.C. LIKE?

Brent says WELL, CRANBROOK IS
A VERY SMALL TOWN.
IT'S MUCH BIGGER NOW.
WHEN I LEFT CRANBROOK TO GO TO
UBC WHEN I WAS 17, THE SIGN
ON THE WAY OUT TO THE AIRPORT
SAID, AND IT HAD AN AIRPORT,
OR AT LEAST A
COMMUNITY AIRPORT.
IT SAID, WELCOME TO
CRANBROOK, POPULATION 8,200.

Richard says 8,200.

Brent says IT'S A BEAUTIFULLY,
BEAUTIFULLY STUNNING PLACE,
RIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE
ROCKY MOUNTAINS, IN THE ROCKY
MOUNTAIN TRENCH, ABOUT 35
MILES -- 35 MINUTES AS THE
CROW FLIES FROM IDAHO,
MONTANA, SO QUITE NEAR THE
BORDER, AND QUITE CLOSE TO
THE ALBERTA BORDER, AS WELL.
MY FAMILY ON MY DAD'S SIDE
WERE IN THE LUMBER BUSINESS
FOR MANY YEARS, AND ON MY
MOTHER'S SIDE, WERE ALL MINERS
FROM WALES AND STUFF.

Richard says I GUESS THOSE ARE THE TWO
OBLIGATORY INDUSTRIES THERE,
RIGHT?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Brent Carver. Actor."

Brent says YES.
MINING AND, HOPEFULLY,
THE LUMBER BUSINESS.
AND MOST OF MY FAMILY IS
IN THAT BUSINESS, STILL.
MY SISTERS AND A
COUPLE OF MY BROTHERS.
OR THEY WORK FOR THE CPR.

Richard says RIGHT, RIGHT.
BEING WITH ALL THE MOUNTAINS
AROUND AND EVERYTHING, WAS IT
A KIND OF CLAUSTROPHOBIC
PLACE TO BE?

Brent says I NEVER THOUGHT -- SO THE
BIGGEST TOWN I'D EVER BEEN IN
IN MY LIFE, UP UNTIL GRADE
NINE, I WAS AN ARMY CADET FOR
ABOUT THREE OR FOUR YEARS.

Richard says I NEVER KNEW THAT.

Brent says YEAH.
I WAS GOING TO ARMY CADET
CAMP IN CLEAR LAKE, MANITOBA.
SO I TOOK THE BUS TO CALGARY,
AND CALGARY WAS THE FIRST BIG
CITY I'D EVER BEEN TO.
AND I JUST REMEMBERED BEING
SO EXTRAORDINARILY STUNNED BY
THE ESCALATORS IN THE
HUDSON'S BAY THERE.
SO I WOULD RUN UP THE DOWN
ONE AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
OF COURSE, I WAS
IN GRADE NINE.
SO IT WAS -- I MEAN, SHELTERED
IN A WAY, BUT IT ALSO
ATTRACTED MANY TOURISTS,
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM ALL
OVER, I GUESS, PEOPLE WHO
CAME FROM EVERYWHERE.
THE LOGGING CAMPS MY DAD
WORKED IN AND HIS FATHER
OWNED WOULD HAVE PEOPLE FROM
QUEBEC AND EVERY NATIONALITY
THERE, ALL WORKING UNTIL SPRING
BREAK AND STUFF LIKE THAT.

Richard says SO THERE WAS A GREAT
ASSORTMENT OF PEOPLE, BUT I'M
THINKING, CULTURALLY, YOU SAID
YOU SANG IN CHURCH CHOIRS AND
THINGS, BUT WHERE DID YOU
FEED YOUR MUSICAL SOUL?
I MEAN, THERE WEREN'T VIDEO
STORES YOU COULD GO AND RENT
ON THE TOWN
AT,
WITH GENE KELLY.

Brent says NO.
WE HAD, MY GRANDMOTHER GAVE US
HER RECORD PLAYER AFTER SHE
GOT HER NEW STEREO, WHEN I WAS
IN ABOUT GRADE SIX OR SEVEN.
AND SHE GAVE US ALL OF HER
GEORGE FORMBY ALBUMS, THE 78s.

Richard says YES.

Brent says GEORGE FORMBY.
AND I LISTENED TO
EVERY ONE OF THEM.
MY GRANDDAD'S FLANNELETTE
NIGHT SHIRT,
AND
I'M LEANING
ON THE LAMP POST.
THEN THE 33 ALBUMS, THE ONE
I LISTENED TO CONSTANTLY WAS
NAT KING COLE.
RAMBLING ROSE, PUT YOUR
SWEET LIPS A LITTLE CLOSER TO
THE PHONE
AND, OF COURSE,
MY FATHER, YOU KNOW, PLAYED
GUITAR, AND SANG, NOT
PROFESSIONALLY, OR ANYTHING,
BUT AT PARTIES AND
THINGS LIKE THAT.
AND EVEN NOW, EVERY MORNING,
HE DOES IT, AT 76 YEARS OLD.
AND MY SISTERS AND BROTHERS
ARE ALL VERY MUSICALLY INCLINED.
I JUST LISTENED TO
THE RADIO A LOT.
I DON'T KNOW, THE
MUSIC WAS IN THE AIR.

Richard says WHAT ABOUT A BOY WITH ROCK
AND ROLL IN THAT PERIOD?
IN YOUR ONE MAN SHOW, YOU DO A
LOVE POTION NUMBER NINE
AND
YOU SAID, THIS IS KIND OF
LIKE WHAT IT WAS GROWING UP
IN CRANBROOK.

Brent says IT WAS.
WE FORMED A BAND WHEN
I WAS IN GRADE SEVEN,
AND WE PLAYED THINGS
LIKE
LOUIE, LOUIE
AND
LAST KISS
AND
THINGS LIKE THAT.
THEN I WAS ASKED TO BE IN A
REAL SEMI-PROFESSIONAL BAND.
AT LEAST COME AND TRY OUT.
THEY WERE CALLED
THE THIN RED LINE.
BUT I WAS ONLY IN FOR ABOUT
TWO REHEARSALS, AND I SORT OF
FOUND MY WAY TO THE DRAMA
CLUB AT HIGH SCHOOL
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

Richard says NOW, WHEN YOU GOT TO
VANCOUVER, I REMEMBER IT WAS
BEFORE I CAME THERE, BUT
EVERYONE STILL TALKS ABOUT THE
FACT, IN YOUR FIRST STAGE
APPEARANCE THAT GOT NOTICED,
THE VANCOUVER PAPERS, AND I
GUESS YOU MUST HAVE BEEN
17 YEARS OLD.

Brent says 17.
JUST TURNED 18, I THINK.

Richard says
HELLO DOLLY, YOU PLAYED
BARNABY TUCKER, AND JAMES
BARBER, THE CRITIC FOR
THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE,
AND HE'S NOW THE URBAN
PEASANT, HE CALLS HIMSELF.
BUT HE WAS THEATRE CRITIC
THEN, AND HE SAID, WATCH THIS
YOUNG MAN, HE WILL BE A STAR.
WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU
WERE SITTING THERE, AND YOU'RE
17 FROM CRANBROOK, AND IT'S
YOUR FIRST SHOW IN VANCOUVER
AND YOU READ THAT?

Brent says WELL, I DIDN'T REALLY KNOW
WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THAT
SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE IT WAS
ALWAYS SORT OF -- IT WAS SUCH
A SURPRISE.
AND I WAS REALLY, AND HAD
ALWAYS DONE WHAT I WAS DOING
BECAUSE I NEEDED TO DO IT.
THE YEARS WE WERE AT UBC, AND
ALL THE WORK WE'VE DONE AFTER
THAT IS THAT I JUST REALLY
NEEDED TO SOMEHOW EXPRESS
SOMETHING OR BE
PART OF SOMETHING.
AND IT WAS A KIND OF ENERGY
THAT SOMEHOW I NEEDED...
I FELT CONNECTED.
SO WHEN HE SAID SOMETHING
LIKE THAT, I KIND OF WENT,
WELL, THAT'S GREAT,
I FEEL CONNECTED.

Richard says WAS THERE A STAR YOU HAD IN
MIND, IF YOU SAID I WANT TO BE
A STAR, WHO THAT STAR WAS?

Brent says UM... NOT REALLY.
I USED TO WATCH OLD MOVIES
A LOT, TOO, AND PEOPLE LIKE
SPENCER TRACY.
I LOVED SPENCER TRACY
AND BETTE DAVIS.
AND I ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT
MOVIE
ON THE BANKS OF THE
WABASH, FAR AWAY, AND
OLD JOLSON MOVIES.

Richard says YOU KNOW WHAT I REMEMBERED.

Brent says WHAT?

Richard says YOU PROBABLY DON'T
REMEMBER THIS.
YOU WERE GRILLING ME WHEN YOU
FOUND OUT THAT I HAD SEEN
BARBRA STREISAND ON STAGE.

Brent says AND STREISAND, ABSOLUTELY.

Richard says AND YOU KEPT SAYING TO ME,
WHAT WAS STREISAND LIKE
IN PERSON?
NOT THE MOVIES, WHAT
WAS SHE LIKE IN PERSON?

Brent says BECAUSE I HAD NOT HEARD HER
SING, OR ANYTHING, UNTIL UBC.
AND I WAS 18 OR 19 AND SAW
THIS TELEVISION SPECIAL,
AND I WENT...
AND I JUST HEARD THIS... AND
EVERYONE IN THE WORLD HAS
HEARD IT, AND IT'S THAT
EXTRAORDINARY VIBRATO.
IT'S THAT EXTRAORDINARY
EXPRESSION OF HER VOICE THAT,
WHEN SHE SINGS TO ME, THERE'S
A WHOLENESS THAT I JUST
THOUGHT, IT'S AMAZING.
AND HOW MUCH INFLUENCE SHE'S
HAD ON THE REST OF THE WORLD,
AND NOW, PARTICULARLY, NEW
GENERATIONS OF CELINE DIONE
AND WHITNEY HOUSTON, AND
GREAT SINGERS WHO HAVE BEEN
INFLUENCED BY THAT WHOLENESS,
BY THAT RELEASE OF SOUND.
AND I JUST THOUGHT, YEAH.

Richard says THAT WAS SOMETHING YOU
ASPIRED TO AS WELL.

Brent says THAT KIND OF RELEASE.
THAT KIND OF VOCAL FREEDOM AND
EXPRESSION I REALLY WANTED.

Richard says YOU KNOW, BRENT, IT WAS
ALSO AT UBC THIS KIND OF,
I WANT TO SAY DISPARITY
THAT'S BEEN IN YOUR WHOLE
CAREER HAPPENED.
ON ONE HAND, YOU ARE GOING
AROUND DOING MUSICALS.
YOU'RE DOING RIFF IN
WEST
SIDE STORY, AND A FULL
FRONTAL NUDE HAWKER IN
TOMMY,
THE ROCK OPERA.
THEN YOU ARE GOING AROUND
AND PLAYING FERDINAND IN
THE DUCHESS OF MALFI
AND
ALL THESE INTENSE PARTS.
THIS HAS CONTINUED
TO THIS VERY DAY.
DO YOU FEEL THIS IS
EVER LIKE A TUG IN YOU?

Brent says WELL, TO A CERTAIN EXTENT,
IT SEEMS TO BE MORE OF A TUG
OFTEN WHEN PEOPLE'S
PERCEPTIONS OF WHAT YOU DO IN
YOUR PROFESSION, OR IN YOUR
CAREER, OR AS A SINGER OR ACTOR.
FOR INSTANCE, I LOVED PLAYING
FERDINAND IN
THE DUCHESS
OF MALFI, AND
HAMLET, AND I
FEEL THAT FOR ME, AGAIN,
IN TERMS OF USING THAT WORD
WHOLENESS, IS THAT IT SEEMS TO
ME THERE IS, WE KNOW THERE
IS A MUSIC IN EVERYTHING.
IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT IT IS.
AND IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY NEED
TO BE ROMANTIC OR WHATEVER
THAT IS, THERE IS A
MUSIC TO EVERY SOUND.
THERE IS A MUSIC TO EVERY --
THERE'S A SCORE TO EVERY,
PARTICULARLY THE GREAT WRITERS
HAVE A SCORE THAT YOU DON'T
PLAY, THAT PLAYS YOU.
AND I THINK, FOR ME, THAT IS
WHERE I, WHAT I HAVE FOUND
SUSTAINS ME.
AND TRYING TO LET THAT
SO-CALLED GAP, OR THAT SCHISM
BE WHOLE AND BE ONE.
SO DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

Richard says YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.
I THINK ONE OF THE PEOPLE
YOU ARE HAPPIEST PERFORMING
BRINGS THIS TOGETHER.
AND IT'S ONE OF THE FIRST
PROFESSIONAL JOBS YOU EVER
HAD WAS IN JACQUES BREL,
IS ALIVE AND WELL AND
LIVING IN PARIS.
BREL'S MUSIC IS VERY MUSICAL,
BUT ALSO ALL THE CHARACTERS
ARE VERY DRAMATIC.

Brent says THEY'RE DRAMATIC, AND THEY
HAVE OFTEN A SINGULAR PURPOSE.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, THEY
ARE VERY, AGAIN, WHOLE.
THEY HAVE A BEGINNING, A
MIDDLE, AND AN END, BUT THE
END ALWAYS SEEMS WITH BREL
TO ME, TO MOVE ON, YOU KNOW?
HE WAS SUCH A GIFTED
PERFORMER AND HAD SUCH AN
INSIGHT, I THINK, INTO WHAT
PEOPLE NEEDED, AND HOW HE
EXPRESSED IT THROUGH HIS
MUSIC, AND THROUGH HIS LYRICS,
AS WELL AS THE WONDERFUL
TRANSLATIONS OF HIS LYRICS,
YOU KNOW?

Richard says NOW AT THIS POINT IN YOUR
CAREER, WE'RE TALKING, YOU'RE
JUST BARELY INTO YOUR
TWENTIES, AND IT SEEMED
LIKE YOU WERE ON
THIS ROLLER COASTER.
I MEAN, YOU DID JACQUES
BREL, YOU WENT TO THE
CITADEL AND DID SHAKESPEARE
WITH JOHN NEVILLE.
YOU'RE DOING ALL THIS STAGE
WORK ALL OVER THE PLACE,
AND THEN YOU GET YOUR
FIRST TV SERIES.

Brent says OH, MY FIRST TV SERIES WAS?

Richard says LEO AND ME.
AND THERE WAS THIS LITTLE
KID WHO WAS SUPPOSED
TO BE YOUR SUPPORT.
WHAT WAS HIS NAME?

Brent says YEAH, MICHAEL J. FOX.
I WAS LEO, HE WAS ME.
YEAH, RIGHT?

Richard says WAS HE ME THEN?

Brent says LEO AND ME.

Richard says WHAT WAS THE KIDDIE
MICHAEL J. FOX LIKE?

Brent says I THINK HE WAS 16,
JUST TURNING 17.
AND HE HAD JUST GOTTEN
HIS DRIVER'S LICENSE.
HE HAD A LITTLE
VOLKSWAGEN BUG.
YOU'D SEE HIM DRIVING DOWN
THE STREET, AND YOU'D GO,
OH, IS MICHAEL IN THERE?
I SHOULDN'T SAY -- BECAUSE
HE JUST SEEMED SO YOUNG.
BUT FRESH, AND ALIVE, AND
THE GREATEST, WRYEST SENSE
OF HUMOUR EVER.

Richard says BUT A PASSION TO BE A STAR?

Brent says I'M NOT SURE WHETHER IT WAS
TO BE A STAR, BUT CERTAINLY
TO, I THINK, FULFILL WHAT
THAT... I DON'T KNOW.
CERTAINLY AN ACTOR,
I BELIEVE, YOU KNOW?
AN ACTOR WHO HAD IMPECCABLE
TIMING, YOU KNOW?

Richard says OBVIOUSLY, THIS SERIES,
WASN'T QUITE A FIT FOR YOU.
IT DIDN'T LAST THAT LONG.

Brent says KIND OF A BLOND ITALIAN.

Richard says THEN YOU STARTED MOVING
EAST IN MANY WAYS.
YOU STARTED WORKING OUT OF
THE EAST AND, EVENTUALLY,
THE SHADOW OF STRATFORD
ROSE UP AND WAS THERE.

Brent says RIGHT.

Richard says NOW GROWING UP IN CRANBROOK,
WERE YOU EVEN AWARE
OF THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL?

Brent says I WASN'T.
I WASN'T REALLY AWARE OF
THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL.
I HAD SEEN SOME THINGS ON
TELEVISION, PRODUCTIONS,
AND I HAD SEEN WILLIAM
HUTT, I REMEMBER, ON TV.
BUT REALLY, THE WHOLE, IN
THE BEST SENSE, THE WHOLE
INSTITUTION OF STRATFORD, I
HAD NO IDEA WHAT IT WAS ABOUT.
MY VERY FIRST TIME TO
STRATFORD WAS 1974 -- NO, '75,
WHEN I WAS, AND I HAD SEEN
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

Richard says THAT WAS ONE OF THE FIRST
ROBIN PHILLIPS YEARS.

Brent says THAT'S RIGHT.

Richard says WHEN YOU SAT THERE IN THE
AUDIENCE, DID YOU THINK THIS
MAN WHOSE PRODUCTION YOU WERE
WATCHING WOULD SOON HAVE
SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART IN
YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE, AS WELL?

Brent says WELL, I THINK THAT...
YOU NEVER THINK THAT.
YOU HOPE THAT YOU HAVE THE
OPPORTUNITY TO BE PART OF SUCH
AN EXPRESSION AS SOMETHING
LIKE
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
THAT ROBIN PHILLIPS DIRECTED,
AND MARTHA HENRY AND
WILLIAM HUTT, AND RICHARD
MONETTE, AND BRIAN BEDFORD
AND A WONDERFUL COMPANY.
NO, I KIND OF LOOKED AT
THIS AND WENT, YES, YES.
BUT I REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY
KIND OF IDEA THAT I WOULD BE
ABLE TO BE SPENDING SO MUCH
TIME AND SO MUCH QUALITY LIFE
IN THE THEATRE WITH
ROBIN PHILLIPS.

Richard says BUT, AGAIN, YOU WERE BOUGHT
THERE VERY SOON AFTER.
AND DID A LOT OF
AMAZING PERFORMANCES.
AGAIN, YOU'RE NOT EVEN IN YOUR
THIRTIES, AND YOU ARE DOING
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT.

Brent says WITH JESSICA TANDY
AND BILL HUTT.
YEAH.
IT WAS THE LAST --
IT WAS 1980 SEASON.
AND THAT SEASON, I HAD DONE,
WE HAD ALSO DONE
FOX FIRE
WITH JESSIE, AND HUME CRONYN,
THAT HUME HAD WRITTEN.
IT WAS THE PREMIER OF IT,
ACTUALLY, AND ROBIN DIRECTED,
AS WELL AS
THE BAKER'S
OPERA, AND
THE SERVANT OF
TWO MASTERS.

Richard says NOW, IT'S AMAZING.
YOU'RE JUST RATTLING OFF THE
MEMORIES OF IT, YOUR EYES ARE
GLOWING, AND YOU ARE
SMILING AND EVERYTHING.
WHAT DID THIS REPRESENT
TO YOU AT THAT TIME?

Brent says WELL, I REMEMBER COMING A
WEEK LATE INTO REHEARSAL.
AND WE WERE REHEARSING
UPSTAIRS IN THE LOBBY
OF THE AVON THEATRE.
AND WE REHEARSED FOR AT LEAST
A MONTH, SORT OF TOUCHING ON
THE TEXT, BUT NOT.
IT WAS AN EXTRAORDINARY,
EXTRAORDINARY MASTER CLASS
WITH ROBIN AND
WITH THE COMPANY.
AND FOR ME, IT WAS A
CHANGING ROOTING TIME.
AND, AGAIN, MAKING ME
REALIZE EVEN MORE WHAT THE
POSSIBILITIES WERE AND
KNOWING THAT THE UNKNOWN IS
THE ONLY PLACE YOU CAN REALLY
GO INTO TO POSSIBLY FIND
WHAT IS KNOWN.

Richard says IT'S INTERESTING YOU SAY THAT
BECAUSE WHEN YOU GET TO
LONG DAY'S JOURNEY, AND PARTS
THAT DEEP, WHAT'S HAPPENED TO
YOU MORE AND MORE IN THE LAST
COUPLE OF DECADES OF YOUR
LIFE IS PEOPLE HAVE CALLED
ON YOU, I SOUND LIKE
DARTH VADER, BUT TO GO
INTO THE DARK SIDE.

Brent says MM-HMM.

Richard says AND THEY'VE SAID, GO
THERE, EXPLORE, DIG DOWN.
WHEN YOU WERE DOING IT BACK
THEN WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG AND
THERE HADN'T BEEN THAT MUCH
DARKNESS YET AROUND YOU,
WHERE DID YOU FIND IT?

Brent says WELL, I THINK THE DARKNESS IS
PRETTY RELATIVE TO THE LIGHT.
THAT'S A PRETTY SIMPLISTIC
STATEMENT, BUT I BELIEVE IN
BOTH SOMEHOW BEING
ONE, LIGHT AND DARK.
SO I JUST WENT SOMEWHERE
INSIDE, AND SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE.
I BELIEVE -- I ALWAYS HAVE
BELIEVED, I'M NOT SURE WHETHER
THE WORD IS BELIEF, BUT HAVE
SENSED, HAVE KNOWN BUT NOT
KNOWN, THAT THERE IS... I'M
NOT SURE WHETHER THE WORD IS
CREATOR, BUT A CONNECTION, NOT
A DEEP SHALLOW CONNECTION TO
CREATION AND TO BEING PART OF
THAT, AND BEING ONE WITH IT.
AND SO I THINK IF THERE WAS
ANY DARKNESS, IT CAME,
YOU KNOW, FROM MANY SOURCES.
I THINK GROWING UP, YOU
HAVE LOTS OF HARD TIMES.
YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW...
OUR FAMILY IS A VERY LOVING
FAMILY, BUT WE DIDN'T ALWAYS
HAVE THE EASIEST TIME
FINANCIALLY, OR IN OTHER WAYS,
YOU KNOW?
SO I THINK -- BUT
THAT'S, TO ME, NOT DARK.
THAT IS LIGHT.
THAT IS WHAT IT IS.
AND IT PROPELLED ME
TO SEEK THE LIGHT.

Richard says AND THE DIFFERENCE IS
INSIDE BRENT, AS WELL.
BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE
ALWAYS SPOKEN POSITIVELY ABOUT
YOUR FAMILY AND THAT
EXPERIENCE, WHAT YOU BRING
SOMETIMES SO MUCH IS SOMEBODY
WHO IS THERE AND THERE'S
LIKE A LITTLE GLASS BOOTH,
AND YOU ARE TAPPING,
GOING LET ME OUT, LET
ME OUT, LET ME OUT.
WHAT IS THERE... WHAT ARE
YOU TRYING TO GET OUT OF,
OR WHAT ARE YOU TRYING
TO LET OUT OF YOU?

Brent says I THINK SOMEHOW FINDING A WAY
THAT THAT GLASS BOOTH IS
ACTUALLY JUST AN ILLUSION.
AND I THINK I'M TRYING TO
FIND, AS WE ALL ARE, TRYING
TO FIND THAT POSSIBILITY THAT
WE KNOW THIS IS AN ILLUSION,
BUT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE
WITHIN THAT AND ACCEPT IT.
AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT
I'M TRYING TO DO --
ACCEPT, ACCEPT, ACCEPT.

Richard says OKAY.
I GO BY NOW YOUR CAREER, AND
IT'S MAYBE BECAUSE WE START
WORKING IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF
THE COUNTRY, AND WE DON'T SEE
EACH OTHER, BUT IT'S LIKE
I'M FLIPPING THROUGH A
PHOTO ALBUM.
AND I SAY, OH, THERE'S BRENT
CARVER IN ROBIN PHILLIPS'
FILM OF THE WARS.
THERE HE IS IN
THE PIRATES
OF PENZANCE
AT STRATFORD.
THERE HE IS DOING
UNIDENTIFIED HUMAN REMAINS
IN A SMALL THEATRE IN TORONTO.
AND THERE HE IS, I REMEMBER
THIS, DOING
HAMLET
AT THE
STRATFORD FESTIVAL, WHICH IS
ONE OF THE THINGS EVERYBODY
ASPIRES TO, AND YOU WEREN'T
NECESSARILY TREATED KINDLY
BY ALL THE PRESS.

Brent says NO.

Richard says IN FACT, UNKINDLY
AT THAT POINT.

Brent says IT'S VERY INTERESTING
YOU BRING THAT UP.
IT WAS REALLY HALF AND HALF.
IT WAS QUITE
SHOCKING, ACTUALLY.

Richard says WHY?

Brent says WELL, BECAUSE WE'D DONE ALL
THESE -- I HAD PLAYED IT
TWO YEARS BEFORE.

Richard says AT THE GRAND THEATRE.
JOHN NEVILLE DIRECTING
YOU BOTH TIMES.

Brent says AND I GUESS MAYBE THE FIRST
TIME OUT, YOU JUST, THAT'S IT,
YOU GO AND HOPEFULLY THE ROOF
COMES OFF, AND JUST TO SAY
THOSE WORDS.
IT'S AMAZING BECAUSE ANYONE
WHO HAS SPOKEN, OR HAVE READ IT,
WE ALWAYS THINK THERE
IS A HAMLET IN US.
WE KNOW HAMLET.
BECAUSE HE IS.
HE IS WHO YOU ARE
AT THAT MOMENT.
HE IS WHO THAT ACTOR IS.
BUT IT'S COMING TO THE
SELF-REALIZATION AND THE
REVELATION IN YOURSELF TO BE
ABLE TO PLAY IT AND TO REVEAL
IT, AND THAT, AND TO HAVE
THE COURAGE, AND AT THE SAME
TIME, THE HUMILITY, TO KNOW
IT'S VAST, BUT IF YOU JUST
GET SPECIFIC, IT'LL BE OKAY.
WELL, I THOUGHT I
WAS ON THAT ROUTE.

Richard says RIGHT.

Brent says AND I'D WORKED A LOT THE
AND I'D WORKED WITH WONDERFUL,
WONDERFUL PEOPLE, NAMELY
PATSY RODENBURG, FOR INSTANCE,
AND THE COMPANY ITSELF.
AND WE'D DONE ABOUT 16
PREVIEWS FOR STUDENTS.
AND IT WAS JUST AN
EXTRAORDINARY TIME.
THE STUDENTS WERE JUST SO IN
TUNE AND SO CONNECTED TO IT,
TO THE PERFORMANCE, THANK
GOODNESS TO MY PERFORMANCE,
AND TO THE PLAY.
THEN WE ONLY DID
THREE ADULT PREVIEWS.
AND SOMEHOW, SOMETHING WENT
KIND OF, I DON'T KNOW WHAT
IT WAS, AND I THINK THERE WAS A
KIND OF STRANGENESS ABOUT IT.
LIKE A TRUST THAT I... I
DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.
BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT THE
ESSENCE OF WHATEVER HAMLET
THAT I NEEDED TO
FULFILL WAS THERE.
BUT OTHER PEOPLE SAID, FOR
INSTANCE, I REMEMBER VERY
WELL, SOMEONE SAID IT WAS
LIKE THE FIRE THAT IGNITED
EVERYTHING, IT WAS FANTASTIC,
AND THEN IT WOULD BE LIKE,
A CRITIC ACTUALLY SAID THAT I
REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY RIGHT
TO BE ON STAGE.
ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT
TO BE ON STAGE.
AND I'M ON THE STRATFORD
FESTIVAL STAGE PLAYING HAMLET.
AND I HADN'T READ THAT UNTIL
ABOUT TWO MONTHS AFTER.
BUT I HAD JUST GOTTEN THE MOST
EXTRAORDINARY REACTION THE
NEXT DAY FROM ALL
SORTS OF PEOPLE.
AND MY MUM AND DAD HAD
COME TO SEE THE SHOW.
IT SEEMED THE PERFORMANCE
WENT EXTRAORDINARILY WELL.
AND THE NEXT DAY, MY FATHER
SAID, NO ONE COULD EVER SAY
THAT, COULD THEY?
AND I SAID, DAD, DON'T TELL
ME WHAT IT IS BECAUSE
I WASN'T READING THEM.
I WAS GOING THROUGH A
PHASE OF NOT READING.
THEN I SUDDENLY REALIZED,
IT'S RIDICULOUS.
IT'S THROWN OUT THERE.
IF SOMEONE ELSE IS READING IT,
I MUST READ THESE THINGS, TOO.
SO IT WAS QUITE STUNNING
AND SHOCKING TO ME.
AND IT WAS A LITTLE
TURNING POINT, TOO.
I DECIDED, FROM THEN ON, WHICH
I HAVE ALWAYS DONE IN TERMS
OF INTUITION AND TRUST, AND
CHOICES, I THOUGHT, NO, FROM
NOW ON, I'M GOING TO GO
EXACTLY WITH MY TRUST, AND
INTUITION, AND WITH TRUSTING
YOUR INTUITION, AS WELL,
AND BALANCING THAT.
AND NOT FORSAKE
THAT EVER AGAIN.

Richard says AND THIS HAS LED YOU TO
SOME WONDERFUL STRANGE
AND DIFFERENT PLACES.

Brent says DIDN'T LEAD ME, IT WAS
A LESSON ALONG THE WAY.
I THINK EVERYTHING IS LIKE
A TEST AND ENLIGHTENMENT.
YOU KNOW?
THAT'S ALL WE CAN DO.
THAT'S ALL WE CAN DO.
AND SO I'M TRYING TO
COME ALWAYS TO
'THAT'S ALL I CAN
DO', AS WELL.

Richard says WE WERE TALKING ABOUT
DARKNESS AND LIGHT, AND THEY
REALLY BOTH CAME TOGETHER
FOR YOU IN A YEAR
IN THE EARLY 1990s.
YOU WERE GIVEN THE PART
OF
MOLINA IN
KISS OF THE
SPIDER WOMAN.
EXTRAORDINARY ROLE
YOU WENT ON WITH.
AND YOU HAD GREAT PERSONAL
TRAGEDY IN YOUR LIFE, AS WELL.

Brent says RIGHT.
THAT'S RIGHT.
YEAH.
I WAS DOING A PRODUCTION WITH
ROBIN PHILLIPS, IN EDMONTON,
AND I RECEIVED A PHONE CALL
THAT MY BEST FRIEND, SUSAN
WRIGHT, AND HER MOTHER AND
FATHER, JACK AND RUTH WRIGHT,
WERE -- HAD DIED IN A FIRE.
AND IT WAS IN THE HOUSE, MY
HOUSE, WHERE THEY WERE LIVING,
AND WHERE SUSAN HAD BEEN
LIVING FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.
AND WE'D BEEN SHARING A PLACE
HERE AND IN TORONTO, AND HERE.
SO, IT... MY LIFE WAS
THEREFORE CHANGED AFTER THAT.
MY
LIFE.
IN ALL HUMILITY, THE LIFE
OF THE WRIGHT FAMILY
AND ALL THEIR DEAR FRIENDS
WAS COMPLETELY CHANGED.
AND I USE THE WORD 'CHANGED'
BECAUSE IT IS, THAT'S ALL YOU
CAN SORT OF GLEAN OUT
OF SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
AND THERE'S NOTHING TO
BE LEARNED FROM THAT.
IT'S JUST TO BE EXPERIENCED,
AND TO KNOW THIS IS IT.
AND KNOWING THAT FROM THEN
ON, NOTHING WILL BE THE SAME.
BUT FUNNILY ENOUGH, THERE
AFTER, I STARTED REHEARSING
THREE MONTHS LATER FOR
THE
KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN,
IN
WHICH I ENDED UP PLAYING HERE,
AND IN LONDON, AND NEW YORK,
WITH THE GREATS OF THE
AMERICAN MUSICAL THEATRE,
AND RECEIVING, I GUESS,
THE TONY AWARD FOR IT.

Richard says AND THAT'S THE MOMENT --
THIS IS WHAT I WANTED
TO TALK ABOUT WITH YOU.
WE ALL KNEW THE TRAGEDY, AND
THE WORLD KNEW THE TRAGEDY YOU
WERE CARRYING WITH YOU AS YOU
WENT INTO REHEARSAL AND YOU
DID THE PART, AND IT WENT ON.
AND IT WENT TO LONDON, AND
YOU GOT AWARDS, AND YOU WENT
TO NEW YORK AND YOU GOT RAVES,
AND THEN, THE NIGHT, BUT
NOTHING HAD EVER BEEN SPOKEN
ABOUT THE DARKNESS AND THE
LIGHT COMING TOGETHER.
THE NIGHT YOU WON THE TONY
AWARD, AND YOU GOT UP ON THE
STAGE, DO YOU REMEMBER
WHAT YOU SAID?

Brent says I JUST SAID, I THANKED SO
MANY PEOPLE, LIKE MY DOG AND
MY DEAR FRIEND DEREK,
MY FAMILY, AND CANADA,
AND MOSTLY, FOR A
GREAT PART, SUSAN.
BECAUSE HER ARTISTRY AND HER
LOVE AND HER SENSE OF MOVING
FORWARD WAS WITH ME,
AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN,
AND ALWAYS WILL BE.
SO I COULDN'T SAY
ANYTHING ELSE BUT THAT,
IS THAT THIS IS FOR YOU.
AND TO QUOTE Mr. DUNNE,
“DEATH BE NOT PROUD.”

Richard says THIS FEELING TAKES YOU, YOUR
CRITICS HAVE SAID, BRENT DOESN'T
KNOW WHAT HE'S DOING NEXT.
HE HAS THIS GREAT CHANCE,
HE WINS THE AWARD,
HE'S ON THE TOP OF NEW
YORK, AND HE LEAVES.
HE GOES AND DOES A SMALL
PLAY FOR FIVE PERFORMANCES
AT HARBOURFRONT.
HE GOES HERE,
HE GOES THERE.
HE HELPS HIS FRIENDS
AND DOES WORKSHOPS.
HE DOES CONCERTS EVERYWHERE.
WHY ISN'T HE
PLOTTING HIS CAREER?
WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER
TO THOSE PEOPLE?

Brent says WELL, DEPENDS WHAT YOU
THINK MY 'PLOTTING' IS.
I HOPE TO GOD THAT I MAINTAIN
WHAT -- FOR INSTANCE, SUSAN
ALWAYS SAID, THE ARTIST MUST
HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR.
AND FOR ME, THE
PLOTTING IS THAT.
THE PLOTTING IS INTUITION.
AND I DON'T THINK
YOU CAN DETERMINE.
I DON'T THINK YOU CAN ONLY --
IT'S LIKE REHEARSING.
IT'S LIKE REHEARSING WELL.
YOU CAN ONLY DETERMINE WHAT IS
GOING TO HAPPEN FROM MOMENT
TO MOMENT ON THE STAGE, OR
IN FILM OR IN SONG, IF YOU
REHEARSE WELL TO
LEAVE IT OPEN.
AND TO LEAVE IT OPEN TO THE
POSSIBILITIES OF BEING
IN THAT MOMENT.
AND PREPARING FOR IT,
BUT NOT PREPARING.
AND FOR ME, I BELIEVE
THAT'S MY SO-CALLED CAREER.
AND MY LIFE, AS AN
ARTIST, HAS TO BE THAT.
IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WHATEVER
DIRECTION, I'M TRYING TO LEAVE
IT OPEN FOR THE POSSIBILITIES
OF SELF-REVELATION
AND THE POSSIBILITIES
OF REVELATION, PERIOD.

Richard says AND BRENT, THE
POSSIBILITIES ARE LIMITLESS.
GOOD LUCK ON THE JOURNEY.

Brent says THANK YOU.
THANK YOU.

Richard faces the screen and says
FOR
DIALOGUE, I'M
RICHARD OUZOUNIAN.
GOOD-BYE FOR NOW.

Music plays as the end slate reads “Dialogue.”

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 1997, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Brent Carver